The best Rash Guards in 2024

By Julius
We're reader-supported: Just so you know, some of our articles contain affiliate links. If you click them and make a purchase, we will earn a commission. It won't cost you anything extra but it helps us pay the bills. Thank you for supporting Social Diving this way!
Snorkeler in clear water at surface

Rash guards are multi-purpose swim and beach shirts that can be used in many different ways.

Surfers use them for rash protection and to look cool at the beach. Swimmers and snorkelers like them to stay warm and protect themselves from sunburn.

Last but not least, scuba divers use rash guards to get into wetsuits more easily or dive with them in super warm waters.

Whatever the reason you’re looking for a rash guard may be, here you will find the best rash guards in 2024.

There are so many out there which is why at the end of this article, you will find a rash guard buyer’s guide with tips and tricks for buying your first rash guard.

The best rash guards in 2024

These are the best rash guards in 2024 for any budget and size:

Best for Women

If you are looking for a great choice for women, this could be the one.

  • Looks great
  •  Quality material
  •  Lots of color options
  •  Doesn't move up the hips when moving
  •  UPF 50 sun protection
  • Runs very small (order 2 sizes up!)
  •  Women only

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

The Roxy Whole Hearted Long Sleeve Rashguard is for women only and is really good quality.

It has thousands of positive reviews all over the web and from the design to the cut to the UPF 50 sun protection there is nothing I can find wrong with it.

Lots of female divers at Social Diving are super happy with this one.

Specs & Features

Material86% Polyester, 14% Elastane
FitSnug Fit
UV ProtectionUPF 50
Thermal ProtectionLow-Medium
SizingVery small (order 2 sizes up)
VersionsWomen only
Extra FeaturesVery flattering cut & lots of color options

Featuring a big brand name, these long sleeve rashguards are very affordable and good value overall.

  • Looks cool
  •  Reputable brand
  •  Designs are slick
  •  UPF 50 sun protection
  • Runs rather small (order 1 size up)
  •  Tends to wash out quicker than others

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

I’m a big fan of Quicksilver beach wear and the Quicksilver All Time Long Sleeve lycra rashguards are really nice.

They are slim fit which is nice to look at and keeps water flushing to a minimum. You can order them in different colors and most of the designs are pretty cool.

Considering the Quicksilver brand name, these long sleeve rashguards are very affordable and good value overall.

Specs & Features

Material100% Spandex / 86% Polyester, 14% Elasthan
FitSnug Fit
UV ProtectionUPF 50+
Thermal ProtectionLow
SizingA bit small (order 1 size up)
VersionsMen & Women
Extra FeaturesMade from reprieved recycled materials

Best for scuba diving

Looks great, keeps you protected, and will last for years.

  • The design is super cool!
  •  Formfitting and very comfortable
  •  Even after 3 years no sign of wear or tear
  •  UPF 50+ sun protection
  •  Really inexpensive
  •  Versions for both men & women
  • A little loose for some ( get 1 size down!
  •   Sell out quickly
  •  Visible seams

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Aqualung makes some really good diving and swimwear and the Aqualung Long Sleeve Galaxy Rash Guard is no exception.

It comes in both a men’s and women ‘s version and both are great. I especially like the galaxy-inspired design (surprise surprise, I’m a Star Wars fan) and the formfitting cut.

I usually wear mine (I got 2) underneath a thicker wetsuit while diving or when swimming medium distances in warm seawater.

Specs & Features

Material100% Spandex / 86% Polyester, 14% Elasthan
FitNormal Fit
UV ProtectionUPF 50+
Thermal ProtectionMedium
SizingPretty accurate for most body sizes
VersionsMen & Women
Extra Features

Great all-sports compression rash guard for those who do more than just swim or dive.

  • Really cool designs
  •  Super performant
  •  They can take a beating
  •  UPF 50+ sun protection
  •  Great for martial arts
  •  Dries fast
  • Can be pricey (depends on the model
  •  A bit small (buy 1 size up)
  •  Big brand logo sewn on

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Wow, the LAFROI rash guards look super cool, feature a tight compression fit (which I like personally), and are good for all kinds of sports.

Originally designed for MMA, BJJ, and other martial arts, these rash guards are super performant and allow for great flexibility and movement.

I have used mine for snorkeling, as well as in the Gym or underneath my rugby uniform. They do a great job and again, they look amazing!

Specs & Features

Material80% Nylon, 20% Spandex / 82% Polyester, 18% Elastane
SleevesShort & Long
UV ProtectionUPF 50+
Thermal ProtectionLow – medium
SizingA bit small (buy 1 size up)
VersionsMen (but fits men & women)
Extra Features

Best Overall

Their O’Neill Men’s Basic Skins Short Sleeve rash guard is a winner in terms of both quality and skin protection.

  • High quality
  •  UPF 50+ sun protection
  •  Great for beach days
  •  Accurate sizing
  •  Very comfortable
  •  No signs of wear & tear even after extended use
  • Hand-wash to prevent crippling
  •  Won't win any design prices
  •  Got branding all over
  •  White version can be see-through

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

O’Neill is a well-known swimwear shop that makes high-quality rash guards, wetsuits, and more.

Their O’Neill Men’s Basic Skins Short Sleeve rash guard is a winner in terms of both quality and skin protection.

It’s just a very solid rash guard all around that fits comfortably and actually has a pretty accurate sizing chart.

Specs & Features

Material94% Polyester, 6% Spandex (Lycra)
FitSlim fit
UV ProtectionUPF 50+
Thermal Protectionlow
SizingVery accurate
VersionsMen & Women
Extra Features

What is a Rash Guard?

Rash guards are athletic, multi-purpose swim shirts originally designed for surfers but nowadays also used by swimmers, divers and snorkelers. They protect the wearer’s skin from rashes, cuts, and scrapes while also offering thermal and UV insulation. They are also called water shirts, surfing shirts, or sun shirts and are great for all kinds of in-water activities. Common materials include spandex, nylon, lycra, and polyester.

Rash guards were originally worn by surfers to protect their skin from frequent rashes due to the friction of their surfboards.

In addition, they offered some basic protection from sand, rough waves, and other environmental influences encountered while surfing.

Today, rash guards or swim shirts are used frequently by snorkelers, swimmers, and scuba divers for various reasons.

First and foremost, they still serve their original purpose of protecting against rashes and cuts. Furthermore, modern rash guards include UV protection of up to 50 UVP which also makes them an optimal choice for extended snorkeling sessions without the risk of getting a major sunburn.

Scuba divers who dive in tropical warm water can use rashguards instead of wetsuits for some basic thermal insulation and to make wearing the BCD and scuba tank more comfortable.

In other cases, it can be nice to wear a rash guard underneath the wetsuit to stay even warmer or to cover the skin when diving in rental suits.

How Should a Rash Guard Fit?

The right rash guard fit depends on the type of in-water activity you’re doing, as well as personal preference. For swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and other sports with extended direct water exposure, a tighter fit can be beneficial to increase the thermal insulation and reduce drag from the shirt. On the other hand, if you are using the rashguard primarily for beach sports and UV protection, a looser fit will allow more flexibility and not restrict your movement.

As with all exposure suits, swimsuits, and athletic clothes, it can help to try out different rash guards before picking the one/s you like most.

For snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming in warm water I prefer a tighter fit of my rash guards so that the drag is decreased and it feels like a second skin almost.

In addition, I personally like the tight, pronounced look of tight rash guards at the beach or when exercising. Similar to how I wear tighter shirts in general.

Underneath a thicker wetsuit, on the other hand, I prefer a looser fit as I don’t want to unnecessarily compress my lungs. The same holds true for the times I wear my rash guard primarily for UV protection, for example as a lifeguard at the beach or when hiking.

Rash guard materials

Rash guards are usually made from materials like spandex, nylon, lycra, neoprene, or polyester which allow the shirt to be stretchy and flexible, yet tight enough in the water. In recent years, many rash guard manufacturers have also started making their products out of recycled materials to become more environmentally friendly.

Which material you choose for your rash guard depends on the features you are looking for and your skin type.

Some people don’t like the feeling of polyester on their skin and are better off using more skin-sensitive materials instead.

Lycra has become the new gold standard in recent years and lycra rash guards have become increasingly common. There are also some environmentally friendly materials for those who want to dive more sustainably!

Join more than 21,300 readers on our email list for more tips & tricks!
We send out one newsletter per week, every Wednesday.

Subscription Form